Recipe: Chunky Beef Chili

    A thick and delicious winter staple, from scratch
    Chunky Beef Chili prepared and photographed by Stacy Feyer-Salo.

    Chili has its roots in the American Southwest and dates to the 19th century. Originally referred to as “chili con carne” (chili with meat), the stew-like dish typically consists of meat in a tomato broth seasoned with chili powder, garlic, onions, and cumin.

    While it’s commonly made with ground beef, that’s not the only option. Harrison Roadhouse in East Lansing inspired the version seen here, made with large chunks of stew beef. The use of different meats like venison, ground chicken or turkey, or even meat substitutes allows for a variety of chili recipes. Regardless of your protein choice, one ingredient remains constant for this delicacy to be considered “chili” and that’s the small but mighty chili pepper, native to the Americas.


    1 lb stew beef, cubed
    1 large onion, chopped 2 stalks of celery, chopped
    2-4 green chilis, chopped (depending on how much “heat” you like)
    2 cloves of garlic, minced 2 12-oz can of diced tomatoes
    1 12-oz can of chili beans 1 tbsp. cumin
    2 tbsp. chili powder
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. black pepper
    1⁄2 tsp. cayenne pepper 1 tbsp. olive oil


    In a large stainless steel skillet, saute the vegetables over low- to-medium heat. After the onions start to look translucent (five to 10 minutes), add the beef. While it’s in the pan, sprinkle the seasonings on the meat. Tend to the meat, and vegetable mixture – stirring and turning until the beef is browned on all sides. The cooked vegetables should produce enough liquid, but if it starts to get too dry, add 1⁄4 to a 1⁄2 cup of water.

    After the meat is browned, transfer to an 8 quart pot* and add tomatoes and chili beans and stir. Cover and cook on low heat for two hours, making sure to stir the contents every
    so often so as to prevent the meat from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. Add water as necessary.

    Top with shredded cheddar cheese and diced green onion. Serve with saltines and butter or corn tortilla chips.

    *Substitute a slow cooker for an 8-quart pot and cook on low for four hours.

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